Democracy is a system which only flourishes when everyday citizens are engaged in its outcomes and believe that their voice matters. Many voters now are simply not feeling fulfilled by the current state of political affairs leading to apathy at the polls. Online voting could be a way to re-engage voters, allowing democracy to take root and do what it is intended to do.
At its most fundamental core, the ultimate goal of any true democracy is to best represent the will of the people. And it is of absolutely paramount importance to note that the democracy should not only represent the will of some people from a particular demographic or sub-set of the population; the democratic process should account for the views, opinions and desires of as many eligible citizens as possible.
And while this may sound like such an obvious truth, there has been a growing problem with voter apathy and dwindling voter turnout in many democracies all around the globe. This is all while so many other nations are desperately fighting for the opportunity to elect their own governments in a fair and transparent manner. For some, the reason why they choose not to vote is that they are not engaged with the political process, disenchanted with apathy and corruption. They do not feel that the political process is relevant to their everyday lives.
In the “Viral Voting” report issued by WebRoots Democracy, many of these issues are explored in the context of the United Kingdom, but they can be just as applicable in many other places around the globe. In particular, the report takes a look at the youth vote and what it will take to encourage more young people to visit the polls. This is not a new topic and it has been stated many times before that the future of democracy should embrace e-voting technology.
In the WebRoots report, Head of Citizenship and Political Participation Programme at Demos Jonathan Birdwell indicates that only 44% of those aged 18 to 24 voted in the 2010 election, while 74% of those over 55 voted. This gap is incredibly significant. It’s not that young people don’t care about the future of their respective countries. They may not be voting in the same proportion as older generations, but many are actively poltical in more informal ways. The challenge is engaging this demographic so that the voting process can once again be relevant to them.
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